The poem “Casey at the Bat” is an American classic, immortalized in an award-winning Disney cartoon short, a favorite for senior boys reciting a memorized piece for English 12. For me, the poem calls to mind those moments of oh-the-humanity, when losing truly feels like loss. I have often thought of that lack of joy in Mudville, whether it was Brokeback Mountain not winning the Oscar in 2006 or the Oakland A’s being knocked out of championship play umpteen times or last night’s bitter loss to U$C. Last night, Casey, as embodied by Tedford, Longshore, and we the Bear faithful, struck out.
Once you root for a winning team, you forget what it feels like to lose. Though you may not run, hit, or catch with any sort of skill, you live vicariously through the athletes. Their victory is yours. The glory is shared. Watching the Golden Bears get better and better with each year has been an incredible ride. The prospect of our first Rose Bowl since 1959 has tantalized us like a mirage in the middle of the desert. I was practically tasting the cool water as we pulled ahead last night with a score of 9 to 6. Then it all evaporated and we were left spitting out sand.
The Big Game approaches in a few weeks. We will drink and cheer. But without the promise of roses, it will feel like winter.